Everyone knows how great it feels to accomplish something that we really value and have worked hard at to achieve. The feeling of success is an important component in building self-esteem, self-confidence and a drive to be your best. The question is, who defines what success really is?
Externally, success is often equated with money, power, position and prestige. Many of us have felt judged by others — or have even judged ourselves — based on where we sit in each of these areas. In fact, we may use this assessment as a way of determining whether we’ve “made it” or not. However, by doing this, we are missing how varied “success” can look. Whether you are playing Peewee hockey or trying to get ahead in your career, the trick is to recognize the small wins and steps along the way. Each of these count as successes — and they can look completely different from one person to the next.
For some of us, success may be learning something new. For others, it may mean finding a passion that makes us feel alive or feel confident in life. There are plenty more, but ask 10 people and you’ll get 10 different answers. One of the biggest habits we need to shed is the long view, or “I’ll be happy when I …”. If we are stuck in this circle, then no amount of wins or movement forward seems to be enough. Just when we get to the top of one hill, we identify three more hills on the horizon — so we never get a chance to stop and appreciate how far we’ve already come.
Taking the time to recognize where we’re currently at — and even to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done — helps us to celebrate the many small successes that have made us who we are. All of this leads to gaining a better handle on what we want to focus our energy on in life, which is a big key to true success.
One particular exercise that I believe works well, in helping to pave the road to happiness and good fortune, is using your favourite mentor or a person you admire as a guide. Try identifying one or two people that you’ve looked up to, either in your everyday life or in history, movies or books. Write down what you really love about them and what they have that you wish you had more of. This will help you create a blueprint for your own unique version of success. It’s challenging to put aside what others think, but it’s your success and you’re the only one who can really decide what that looks like for you.
If you are ever unsure of a certain path, slow down and ask yourself this question: Would I still do this if there were no money, position or “win” involved? Recognizing this ourselves and then conveying the message to those we mentor or coach is an important step in ensuring we all end up feeling like the winners we are!